A U.S. Attorney’s Office is found to have stashed hundreds of calls between inmates and lawyers. A veteran prosecutor says his old colleagues have gone rogue.
By Justine Glawe
A court-appointed investigator has found that the United States Attorney’s Office for Kansas is in possession of hundreds of phone and video recordings of communications between attorneys and their clients, inmates at a privately run prison facility in Leavenworth.
At least 700 attorneys are believed to have been recorded without their knowledge, the investigator’s report submitted to a federal court said. Last week Special Master David Cohen asked to expand his probe to determine whether prosecutors regularly listened to and compiled attorney-client conversations. Already, 227 phone call recordings and at least 30 videos of attorney-client meetings have been discovered in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment for this story.
Prosecutors obtained recordings of the conversations with the help of the private-prison company that runs Leavenworth, CoreCivic, and the company that provides communications services there, Securus Technologies. Both companies have been sued several times in the past for violating the constitutional rights of inmates by recording calls between them and their attorneys. (CoreCivic did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Securus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
The systematic recordings were discovered by a defense attorney who was recorded speaking with her client about the government’s case against a drug ring inside the prison.
Jackie Rokusek told The Daily Beast she was called to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City last August, where she said she was told by prosecutors that they had video evidence of her providing her client with confidential information about a drug ring case. Rokusek was given a computer and she watched the video, then she says she accidentally clicked on another file. A window opened, and a video showing another attorney meeting with their client at Leavenworth played. Stunned, Rokusek immediately went to the Federal Public Defender’s office in Kansas City and told them what she’d found.
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Source: The Daily Beast